karen_w_newton (karen_w_newton) wrote,

The Primeval Conundrum

If you have been to a convention lately in which Connie Willis was a speaker, you will have heard about Primeval. The show is a British science fiction series that also runs on BBC America. Part Jurassic Park and part The Time Tunnel, it posits that ruptures in time allow creatures from other times to come through to ours (always in the UK, for some reason). The series has been on for five seasons and older shows are also available as DVDs and as streaming video. Connie Willis adores this show; she talks about it every chance she gets. And since I respect and like Connie Willis, I thought I would give it a try.  Following her advice, I started with Season 1, episode 1.

Most of the seasons are six or seven episodes but season 3 has 10. I'm only to the end of season 2, so I have a ways to go, but so far I have a love/hate relationship with this show. I love the character development, the way the plot arcs from one episode to the next, and the variety of creatures. What drives me absolutely crazy are the plot holes, especially those that seem to be driven by the need to make the characters look a specific way.

When a team of soldiers are facing monster insects, they don't have on any kind of helmet. These days cops don't face student protesters without Plexiglass face shields, and yet these guys wear body armor but nothing on their heads and necks, leaving them conveniently vulnerable to insect attacks.  Plus, in the first two seasons, our heroes, the team of scientists who are always sent to deal with the creatures that arrive from another time, often go running into danger with no real weapons or protection. What government agency is going to send a handful of scruffily-dressed science geeks to deal with dangerous monsters?

It's annoying because the writers clearly know how to build suspense and hook a viewer, but somehow the marketing department has gotten hold of some of the scripts. Although some of my problems with the stories are the writers' fault. The degree with which the government is able to keep these incidents a secret seems unrelated to the events. A Pteranodon (or something like it) flies over central London in broad daylight and there are no photos or videos posted on FaceBook and YouTube? Have these writers never heard of Twitter? Do they not know how impossible it is to hide anything that happens in the smart phone age, when everyone is a) armed with cameras and b) connected to the web 24/7? These things make me grit my teeth.

But damn, those people do know how to wrap up a season and set a hook for the next one!

Tags: science fiction, tv shows

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